EDITORIAL: 2019 General Elections: A Lesson To Nigerians

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Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

Prior to 2019 general elections, political analysts and media pundits were battling one another on whether the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would rise from ashes like Phoenix or it would be extinct like Dinosaur. The 2019 general elections has taken a sophisticated shaped that left the international communities dumbstruck.

The All Progressive Congress, presidential candidate and also incumbent played the role of democracy like it is meant to be played. Creating a plain field for his party and the oppositions, allowing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be truly independent for the first time in the history of democracy. Just like any other election this one came with its negative and positive sides. Exposing the identity of some political warmongers like Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano and Darius Ishaku Taraba states respectively.

Kano governorship election rerun is considered to be the most horrific, biggest political scam ever seen since the return of democracy in 1999, where a scored number of people were butalized by hoodlums that are allegedly sponsored by the government. Kano citizens, especially those residing within Gama ward felt that they were denied their right to vote for the candidate of their choice. The opposition party believe that the government in collaboration with security agency rigged the process that was meant to be free, fair and credible. The PDP guber candidate is leading with over 26, 000 votes before the rerun, but the incumbent was able to merge the gap and won at last. Both the International and domestic election obeservers has debunked the election, tagging it as a daylight robbery of human rights.

Despite the gory images and videos that went viral showing how thugs were chasing people from polling units, disrupting election process even at the collation centre, the DIG, Mr Michael Anthony who was sent to Kano for the purpose of the re-run election informed the media that the election went peacefully. The incident has threatened a wonderful rapport CP Muhammad Wakili was able to build with Kano people since his relocation to the state. Now, Kano people no longer respect or see police as their friend, having little or no faith in the system, a system sworn to be impartial was abused by the very people in positions power. PDP run to tribunal to cry for justice, believing it to be the last destination for poor man.

Like Kano, Taraba State case is no different, lives were lost, breach of electoral act has taken place and a high number of over voting incidents were recorded especially in the southern zone of the state. However, the 2019 elections is generally considered to be peacefully conducted unlike the previous 2003, 2007, and 2011 where lives and properties were destroyed.

The positive, most surprising thing of all is the brazen move by Kaduna State Governor Nasir Elrufai, who against odds brought a female, Muslim to be his deputy knowing Kaduna would be against him, but retained his seat. He made a calculated risk, came out victorious at the other end. He boldly challenged the common perception of Nigeria’s political permutations.

2019 has exposed the limitations of those considered to be the nation’s political king makers. Former President Obasanjo is under the illusion that without his endorsement one will not rule Nigeria. Politics is local, if not by now President Muhammadu Buhari would’ve been planning his return back to Daura. The Twitter influencers, media houses were in PDP’s pocket but not realizing that the large chunk of voters who vote are the ordinary people, the peasants, petty traders, artisans who are not wired to the social media platforms. And they have spoken in favour of the candidate they believes and trust.

Just like what Mr Bayo said “elite power, pulpit power has been smashed by the results of the election. Those hate preachers who abused the pulpit to command their congregation to vote for the PDP have been put to shame. Elite in the north and south who believe Buhari has been ‘bad business’ and worked vigorously to dethrone him, now also know their powers are limited. The ordinary masses hold the master key to ‘people power’. Buhari, like in 2015, has overcome elite gang up and conspiracy of the churches. In Abuja, the votes recorded in Kubwa, Garki, Mbappe and some other places with a wide Christian population and civil servants against Buhari were to some extent offset by farmers living in the villages around the capital.”

Politicians who put a lot of scores on incessant political endorsements now should know better. The Afenifere group in Yoruba land and the various political groups largely failed to mobilise the votes for Buhari in the region, despite their public endorsements. The results in Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo were too close to show that the people did not heed to the instructions of the groups. Ohanaeze was also rebuffed to some extent in the south east states. The Northern Elders Forum of Ango Abdullahi, the Middle Belt Forum, the Arewa Consultative Forum need some reality checks about their power as opinion moulders.

Lastly, some politicians have truly carved their names on Nigerian history of democracy by showcasing their ambition do not worth a single life. The likes of Barr. M.A Abubakar (Bauchi) and Bindow Jibrilla (Adamawa) truly is a lesson to other politicians on how democracy is supposed to be played.

 

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